Date: 6/11/18 12:46 pm
From: Robert Mussey <mussey.robert...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] off-topic: garlic mustard eradication
Off-topic, but . . .I have extensive experience over 8 years eradicating
garlic mustard on a 60-acre property in Milton. I have been hand-pulling
and bagging it to prevent this lovely woodland from being overtaken.

>From my close observation -

1) it is spread far and wide by deer which love eating it. You'll see
stands where every fourth plant is grazed off 3" from the ground. Once I
discovered this, I knew where to look for new infestations each year --
along deer trails, in the swampy, rocky, brushy areas where they yard-up
and hide. Get to know their habits, you will know where to look for new
patches. They're often nasty, nasty spots.

2. Make 2 passes through each area, one while they are in full flower, a
second pass just before they go to seed to get the ones you inevitably
missed. Even the tiniest seedlings will bloom, so carefully pick them all.

3. "1 year's seeding = 7 years weeding" -- the seeds can lie dormat for 7
years or so. So once it has gone to seed, revisit the same areas for at
least 7 years.

4. Bag them in black plastic bags. I leave most of them in the woods, then
a year later, it will have turned to mush and any seeds will be infertile.
Dump the mess and reuse the bags.

5. It is alleopathic -- where dense stands have formed, it puts out a
poison through the roots which inhibits the germination and growth of
native plants. You will see over that 7-year period native plants
reestablishing themselves.

6. In the hundreds of hours I've spent picking, I have never seen a single
bird feeding on the seed heads. Deer and possibly mice are the vectors for
spread.

7. Spending hundreds of hours at this, being quiet on the forest floor,
I've seen remarkable birds -- a pileated woodpecker drinking from atop a
rock in a burbling brook; fledgling pine warblers being fed by their
parent; a woodcock herding her chicks along the forest floor; a winter wren
singing his magical song; locating a red-breasted nuthatch and a brown
creeper nest just by watching where they carried nesting material.

8. The total bags picked in 8 years: 263. Fewer and fewer most years,
except when I didn't have the time to make a second pass through, or where
deer droppings fell in really inaccessible locations -- briers, rocks,
swamp.

9. Conclusions, if you have deer, you will never totally get rid of it,
they keep seeding new areas. But you can get it down to a manageable
minimum which is under control. And the birding is remarkable!

Robert Mussey
Milton

 
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